Green Guide

Fairbanks proposal aims to clean up air pollution

Posted May 16

— A proposal being introduced this week in the Fairbanks area would make it harder for residents in a densely populated area to ignore burn bans.

The proposal is in response to Fairbanks being categorized as a city with a "serious" smoke pollution problem, the Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/2pGdiHJ ).

The proposal will be introduced Thursday by the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Fairbanks is located within the Air Quality Control Zone, which the Environmental Protection Agency is expecting to soon be under new air quality rules.

The proposal mostly focuses on wood stoves. It would require homebuilders to purchase a permit before building a wood stove in a new house. It also would require owners of newer-model stoves to get a waiver if they want to avoid a burn ban, whereas the current burn ban rule only applies to older-model stoves.

There would still be an option for residents suffering economic hardship. They would need to prove their home has "no other adequate source of heat."

Fairbanks is one of three cities facing pressure to improve air quality. The other two are in Utah.

The air in these three cities routinely exceeds limits set under the Clean Air Act. In response, environmental groups have sued the Environmental Protection Agency to press it to enforce clean air rules in Fairbanks.

Air pollution levels such as those in Fairbanks have been shown in multiple scientific studies to erode heart and lung health.

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